Divorce is a hard to talk and write about. I’ve tried – many times. Then I let it go and give up. Then I come back to it as writing about the experience helps me navigate the why’s, what if’s, and what went wrong’s. Then I let it go again as I move on with my life.
But I always come back to this topic. Unfortunately, it’s what I know.
I’ve unsuccessfully tried to write about divorce in fun and humorous ways. I’ve learned that humorous divorces are far and few between. I’ve looked for happy divorce blogs and while they may start out that way, it’s hard to stay on that track. Divorce isn’t funny. That’s why Google’s search only brings up advice for how to get through it, there’s no fun way to start the journey.
It’s the rare couple who amicably agrees to separate after more than 20 years of marriage. Especially when there are children involved.
But why is it like that? Why is divorce so hard, so painful and so full of anxiety?
Because divorce isn’t like firing someone from a business. It isn’t as cut and dry as making a decision and moving on. For anyone with compassion, empathy, integrity or feelings in general, divorce is fraught with emotional conflicts that in many cases, like mine, are never resolved. Yes, life goes on and I get to enjoy every new moment I experience in my new single life. But when divorcing isn’t done with maturity, grace, integrity and putting the children first, the unseen but very present psychological warfare between parties makes navigating life a rollercoaster. Each day met by wondering what proverbial crazy making bomb will fall on your head. Whether intentional or not, this leaves the kids in the middle.
The psychology of all this emotional and often “wishy washy” stuff is hard to talk about, even harder to write about. It’s complexities mired in ongoing turmoil, too complicated for a short blog post.
So why am I trying again?
I was very young when I married a wonderful man, someone I knew since I was 13 years old. He was kind, considerate and would do anything for me. I was swept away by him and what I saw in my youth as generosity, kindness, someone full of adventure, over the top living, and love.
Looking back, with wisdom I have gained through experience and years, I now wonder if it was indeed all those wonderful adjectives, or truly something else.
At the end of my marriage his behavior changed and anger, deceit and abject hatred took him over, or overtook him. I don’t know which.
Those are the behaviors I want to explore. How someone I thought I was so intimate with could become someone I was afraid of.
Many wise people have said that if you want people to say kind things about you – be kind. It’s an obvious sentiment, one we should all aspire to.
So this is where it gets complicated, confusing and often overwhelming. When writing about divorce, it’s hard to know where to start.
Facts. That’s where.
But facts vary by the person telling them. We all have different variations on the truth. If you ask my Ex he’ll tell you he treated me with honor, kindness and love. My story is very different.
So for me, it’s not the facts I want to write about. It’s the unspoken subtleties I would rather explore. Not the why it happened, because I may never know that answer.
It’s behavior patterns I couldn’t see, or chose not to. Wisdom, age, and years of different therapies have taught me I missed typical and often abusive emotional behaviors I never understood as they were habits and patterns that were my normal at the time. I was codependent to behaviors I didn’t know I was part of. I fell into them and was comfortable in their surroundings because those patterns were my go to way of life.
So here I am, trying again to write about those subtleties and behaviors in a way that makes them, and what those behaviors led to, clear – as mud.
I wasn’t supposed to get divorced. Like many men and women, I married my childhood sweetheart and my best friend. More then 2/3 of my life was spent with this man, our family’s and our friends. I knew this man. I loved his family, he loved mine. He and I were integrated in a way few others are. I knew what he believed, how he operated, his hopes and dreams. I knew his habits and I thought he knew me.
Until I didn’t. I learned that who I thought I knew was not who he really was. It was like a mask was removed and his true self came forward. The interpersonal integrations I thought we had, falling apart when his true self came out of the shadows.
That reality knocked me off my feet. Literally. My entire life spun before me as I dropped into a vortex of questionable reality I had never experienced. I wasn’t prepared for the dismantling of my life that had to take place as my hopes and dreams were shattered in the reality I was currently facing.
But as many other wise people say, you can’t grow up from the top of a tree. Growing is much easier from mud.
The years after my divorce, once the anguish of betrayal eased, my personal growth morphed and shifted. Who I thought I was and the life I had planned on living shifted into an uncharted life full of experimentation, exploration, and creative thinking. Finally landing me in a place of my own choosing and creation, my new home. It’s not perfect, but it’s a home I am now grateful for and one I fought hard to create.
Looking back at the last few years of our marriage, I can identify a shift in the behavior of my Ex and my own, if I’m honest. We were both showing the pains of growth, of marrying too young, not understanding who we were and changes that happened in different directions creating friction that generated the heat of anger that could do nothing other than break apart.
Instead of staying in the anger of what could have been, I plan to move forward and delve into and question the subtle psychological abyss we all hide inside ourselves as we try to navigate this evolving world.